Merkel said that the overall architecture underpinning our world as we know it has collapsed into many tiny parts. She also criticized Washington's stance toward the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. Merkel said: "we imported large amounts of Russian gas during the Cold War. I don't know why times should be so much worse today".
Radio Sputnik has talked about Angela Merkel's speech in Munich with Tom Luongo, a geopolitical analyst and publisher of the Gold Goats 'n Guns Newsletter.
Sputnik: [It was] an interesting speech by Angela Merkel, given that she is coming towards the end of her tenure. What is your impression of her speech and the reaction it received?
Tom Luongo: Isn't it obvious? Merkel is talking her book, as we Wall Street guys like to say. She is absolutely right about US opposition to Nord Stream 2. It is a pipeline that is necessary. I think that what she is doing is she is trying to carve an independent path for the European Union; it is very obvious that she and French President Emmanuel Macron are looking for an independent foreign policy from the United States, but they are trying to do so by degrees.
Sputnik: It is very interesting that we are living in these times when we have such a strong strategy and mission by the US administration since President [George W.] Bush came to power. We have had this malaise with Europe, and specifically Germany, given Donald Trump's attitude towards Germany and their lack of payment towards NATO, for example. Then [there is] the malaise about various products and services, and the imbalance that Trump sees between the export and import of German goods. Why is Washington so insistent on increased military spending? Is it something that previous American administrations have failed to police and to administer correctly, or is President Trump pushing it too far? Who is benefitting? No one is benefitting from it, really?
The NATO spending thing, I saw something, I think it was on a comment actually on an article on Sputnik from a German, who said: "Trump wants us to spend 2 percent of GDP on military spending — that is like 20 percent of the disposable budget of the German government. So he wants 1 in 5 dollars that the German government collects to be spent on defence".
Sputnik: I think the interesting point for an outsider is why Angela Merkel is now choosing and prompting to take a stand against Washington's recent decisions. We know that because of this general indifference and malaise that there is between the two continents, the European Union's leading countries are now very heavily promoting a European Union army. How intent is Europe under the signatories regarding this new stance that they have and that is underpinned by their attitude towards the Iranian nuclear deal, which is another facet of this general malaise, with them implementing it without the participation of the United States? There is a number of issues that the two continents are in loggerheads over, isn't there?
When you look at things from the "great powers heartland" perspective, Germany sits in the middle between the West and the East and is kind of the pivot point. Part of the Iran nuclear deal is at that the Germans want access to relatively cheap Iranian energy; they also want access to Russian energy. They are willing to play games like help destabilise Ukraine in order to force the Russians to give them gas on the cheap and to force price down — that is part of [what] their support for the putsch in Ukraine was back in 2014, but you know once that didn't work then they immediately opened up: "let's just build Nord Stream 2", which then again angered the Americans.
So it is a whole weird web of point-counterpoint, move-countermove with the intention, at the end of the day, for Germany to get to secure long-term cheap energy sources to run their industry and then, by extension, run the rest of Europe through the European Union.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of Tom Luongo and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.